When September Ends: a practice session for the Chemistry Department students

19 October 2018

For the students of TSU Chemistry Department – who are participating in the project “Development of the foreign language competence for TSU students” – the early autumn proved to be packed with a busy schedule of communicative and profession-oriented events held entirely in English by Nadezhda Petrunina (Faculty of Foreign Languages, Asst. Prof.).

The freshmen had their traditional Toastmasters meeting where everyone got a chance to choose a role and act it out trying to keep pace with the set time-scale. This year, students demonstrated an unusually sophisticated approach selecting non-standard topics, vocabulary, and strategies. The meeting was followed by a no less traditional trip to the cinema club organized by Yulia Ibragimova, a project member team. Watching the film about Stephen Hawking made the future scientists think about the ambiguity of genius and about all the hardships that life sometimes puts us through. Finally, the third initiation stage was the equally traditional writing of haiku poems about the students’ recent laboratory experience using the previously studied colour adjectives. Again, the students managed to demonstrate an extremely serious and philosophical approach to yet another academic assignment – however strange it might have appeared!

Meanwhile, the sophomores were not sitting idly by, but preparing for the training session on mnemonics. Having discussed the popular memorizing strategies, the second-year bachelor students made quite a successful attempt to recite the texts they had learned by heart. The creative reciting session was followed by an informal self-reflection period.

Further events took a teaching-assistance turnaround: Bogdan Gurov, Aleksandra Zakharkiva, and Anastasia Silina – the third-year students – conducted a class with freshmen and guided the latter through the fascinating worlds of inorganic reactions, of the English accent varieties, and other interesting things.

The series of events was completed by awarding the Ig-Noble Prizes to the fourth-year chemists: students who once became the first participants of the pilot project “Enhancement of the language competence of TSU students” presented and discussed the crazy-scientist-like projects (both their own and existent ones). The jury, consisting of their groupmates, chose the winners: Darya Sharko with the “brassiere respirator” and Pavel Yamschikov with the cat-assisted perpetuum mobile. The winners received the memorable souvenirs and, hopefully, inspiration for the real research projects.

Cinvendu Yan (stream 08701b): The class was great! On one hand, I sang a fragment of a song trying to show my unknown side to my classmates. It used to be a challenge for me to sing a song in front of the audience, and my voice was always shaking; on the other hand, I witnessed the talents of my classmates making me know more about them. It was a mutual interaction, and I did learn a lot. English is more than homework and task: it is music, it is poem, it is my life.

Polina Leonova (stream 08701b): I believe that this way of learning the language is the simplest and most suitable for students. You, Nadezhda Vladimirovna, immerse us in the atmosphere of the English language, in which the most lazy learn something new. Such lessons are always successful and cheerful, they improve the mood for the whole day. Now I always want to go to chemistry and mathematics lessons with sweets, tea, and guitar.

Elina Nikolaeva (stream 08701b): It's really cool when we can spend time like that. It's an easy way for students to show their talents, to share something new. Great thanks, Nadezhda Vladimirovna, because you give us such a chance. I'm sure that everyone had a good mood after the class!

Aleksandra Zakharkiva (stream 08602): Nadezhda Vladimirovna, thank you very much for inviting us to the class! This is like a breath of fresh air, a nostalgia for the English classes, which have always been very interesting and fun! Thank you for the warm evening!

Olga Bokor (stream 08802a): I want to say thank you for an interesting evening! I think that this kind of communication with undergraduates is very useful.